PARKERBURG - Progress was slow and sure on Sunday after a storm on Friday knocked out electrical service throughout the region.
Tens of thousands of customers remain without electricity in West Virginia, including the Parkersburg area where much of the damage was centralized from the storm that swept across Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and points eastward, according to Todd Meyers, a spokesman for Monongahela Power.
"You guys took the full brunt of that storm," he said.
Crews work to repair a broken electric pole in Belpre this morning.
Wind was clocked at more than 90 mph in Parkersburg, Meyers said.
The devastation was major, he said. Restoration could take a week in some places, Meyers said.
The priority is hospitals and public safety, however, the transmission lines must first be repaired so electricity can be sent to the distribution system, Meyers said.
Of the 560,000 customers systemwide who lost power at the storm's zenith, about 192,000 remain without electricity, he said.
"There' still a lot of work that needs to be done," he said.
More than half of the customers have been restored in Wood County where a major issue is service to the water treatment plant in Williamstown, he said. "It's becoming a situation in some places," he said.
Electric service remained offline at The Parkersburg News and Service, but newspapers were being produced at other newspaper sites.
In the meantime, an immediate concern in the city of Parkersburg was water service to the Woodland Park area and environs where water pressure was low and could possibly run out, Mayor Bob Newell said.
"We're going to ask people to conserve water," he said.
Hundreds of trees were downed in the city by the storm, Newell said.
Municipal employees from the building and grounds department are using chainsaws to remove branches and trees that have fallen across roads and houses, Newell said.
Situations where collapse is possible or imminent got priority, however, in those cases, Newell said he will contact professional lumberjacks to remove the trees.
"I'm going to call some professional companies to help with the bigger stuff," he said.
Two problems site are at Quincy Hill and Meadowcrest, Newell said.
"Quincy looks like a jungle," he said.
Michelle Lyons of Quincy said it was terrifying when the storm came through. All the neighbors came together to support each other and even held a block party.
Firefighters are helping remove trees, he said. Ann Street also was blocked.
An uncertainty is when the swimming pools will reopen, Newell said. Branches and leaves are in the pools and a pump may have been damaged at Southwood, he said.
"We don't know when they're going to reopen for business," Newell said.
Garbage collection will be on the regular schedule today, but tree limbs and debris from the storm will be collected later, he said.
Debris can be placed to the side of the road, he said.
"Other crews will pick up the trees," he said. "That will be in the next few weeks."
Twenty trees are down at City Park, he said. The city plans to have everything cleared in time for the July 4 fireworks.
Also, the city building will be open today, Newell said. Power is out, but the phones ring and employees will be there, he said.
"It's not going to be a holiday," Newell said.
Water is an issue in Vienna where city officials are asking residents not to water their lawns, Mayor David Nohe said.
One water well is operating, and that is being powered by a new generator that was delivered on Thursday, the day before the storm, Newell said. A demonstration of the power plant was going to be held, but it was placed into service because of the emergency conditions, he said.
"We skipped the demo," he said.
The city is working with the power company to restore electrical service to two other water wells, he said. The problem may be a tripped switch that has yet to be discovered,
"We need to get those pumping," he said,
Electrical service generally is on along Grand Central Avenue up to about 28th Street, he said. From 28th to 55th street, power has not been restored, Nohe said.
About 5,500 customers in Vienna remain without power, he said.
"We still don't have anything in Belpre," Mayor Michael Lorentz said.
The city late Saturday night received 1,500 gallons of diesel to run the generators for the sewage and water plants, he said,.
Lorentz is admonishing residents who are watering their lawns and washing their cars during the emergency.
"I just can't believe that," Lorentz said.
The city has removed all the fallen trees that could hamper American Electric Power, of which he saw several trucks arrive on Sunday. All they will have to do is repair the lines and not worry about trees, Lorentz said.
Also, a Red Cross station at the bingo hall at the volunteer fire department has served more than 200 people for breakfast and lunch, Lorentz said.
"We hadn't been prepared for this," he said.
Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of Wood County Schools, said the summer feeding programs and summer school classes in Wood County have been canceled on a day-to-day.